I'm on a real wishlisting kick at the moment (avoiding coursework, you know how it is). I put together a Duardin future release speculation thread, and it made me think of a faction with similar problems: Ogors.
Ogres, with their hungry boi Sumo Mongol aesthetic, were my first army; my first love in WFB. On the current webstore, there are two substantive Ogor factions: Beastclaw Raiders (with a book that is universally considered to be weak) and Gutbuster (without any).
Should they be combined in one Skaven/LoN style book? While I was initially saddened by Ogors splitting in two, I’d say no. The Beastclaw raider lore is quite interesting and benefits from having this unique mixed identity of reaving nomad and downtrodden refugee. BCR and GB are, like Fyreslayers and Kharadron Overlords or Bonesplitterz and Ironjawz, seemingly too culturally divergent to mesh (though, who knows, that might be overruled). So I'll outline my hopes for both factions, starting with BCR (I think Gutbusters will be updated FIRST, but let's start with the shorter one).
As with the last post, I don't wish to get far into the weeds when it comes to specifics of army rules (I'm not a crunch expert), I more want to explore aesthetic design space of these factions, and how their lore gets translated to tabletop.
While BCR have a post-allegiance battletome, it’s problematic state does call for an update within the next few years (after a Gutbuster release). Anyway, aside from balancing certain warscrolls and improving allegiance/artefact utility, I want to speculate about new models. I feel like a little goes a long way here. Part of this, too, is adding a wrinkle in the already promising foundation of the BCR's Everwinter story. I want to add ambiguity and conflict to its nature, as well as introduce a belief sect dedicated to breaking the curse.
- Frost Sabres. I love the idea of fantasy Sabrecats, but the current model is universally derided. I’d want resculpted kitties coming in a pack of 5 (Gryph-Hound style), and to make be viable as both chaff screen AND the BCR’s cheap source of bodies (3 wounds making up for their 6+ save).
- New Yhetees. Feral ice creatures, Yhetees are one of the coolest aspects of the army (visually and thematically) and would really benefit from a redesign. Following from that...
- Yhetee Frostcaller. Yhetees are creatures with natural magic affinity to the Everwinter, so it makes sense that the occasional individual harnesses their innate power to cast spells. A -2 rend CC character and spell-caster, the Frostcaller would create the option to theme a BCR force around Yhetees. It would add an additional dimension to the mysterious, feral beasts which live symbiotically with the Ogors. Perhap, too, it could raise an ambiguous question: were the Ogors truly cursed by Gorkamorka, or is there something more insidious going on? Are these bestial being the Ogor's allies, or are they slyly shepherding them (and the realms) into icy extinction?
- Icebrow Hunter on Bull Rhinox. As I’d imagine a Gutbuster release would be sooner than a Beastclaw release, we can assume this would have already been released as a multi-kit that builds either a mounted hunter or a tyrant. For the BCR this sprue should also grant them their first special character:
- Fjorg Spring-Seeker, Named Hunter on Rhinox. Having transcended the scorn associated with the status of 'Icebrow Hunter', this chap has attained fame from his quest for a way to lift the Everwinter curse (which probably doesn't make Yhetees like him very much). I think having someone with a proactive goal to 'save' the BCR from their plight would be an interesting addition to their background.
- One more unlikely addition: an upgrade sprue. It’s a slim chance, but it should be noted that the base Ogor body sprue is one of the best older kits on sale. It’s detailed, modular and, while not the most dynamic, does a good job at conveying a lumbering gait. GW *could* combine the base sprue with a BCR ‘upgrade’: heads and gutplates adorned with winter-themed furs and salvaged bones, and a javelin weapon option (giving the faction some extra shooting potential).
The Everwinter is crucial to BCR lore and mechanics, so IMO the faction’s terrain needs to be a dynamic representation of the encroaching winter. I imagine the terrain to be large protrusions of ice and frozen ground, let's say call it 'everwinter's touch'. There could be similar summoning mechanics to Sylvaneth Wildwoods, where the boards gets slowly overwhelmed by them as the battlefield freezes. I know there are some people who find wildwoods irritating for counterplay, but I think that the BCR's interaction with it would be less frustrating. For one, the low model count means having access to impassable (except to Yhetees) blocking terrain helps them defend against more manoeuvrable armies. The ice blocks needn't have a direct mortal wound bubble either: a freezing debuff aura similar to a Thundertusk would be more thematic. The only downside to this would be the requirements to purchase more terrain than most factions (same problem as the Sylvaneth), but BCR are generally one of the cheaper armies so it probably works out. I'd say this representation of the Everwinter is more visual and tactically rewarding than the current allegiance ability.
As for endless spells, giving the Frostcallers a toolbox of Ice spells would be rather simple. A blizzard predatory spell, a spear of ice and frozen wall… none of this is inspiring but it does write itself.
Well, those are my condensed thoughts on BCR: an interesting army with lots of potential, and could benefit from a small release to flesh out the feral side of the faction.
Release size: small
- Updated Battletome
- Icy Endless Spells
- Frozen Terrain
- 3 new model kits
- Possibly an upgrade sprue
Onto the OG beefy bois.
Recently, Maneaters and Firebellies have been re-absorbed into Gutbusters on the webstore. It's not certain proof of reunification, and both Keywords represent a single unit with a strong theme that could serve as a basis for an entire subfaction. The Firebelly invites a more tribal, shamanic culture of fire-worshipping voodoo (the Bonesplitterz to the Gutbuster’s Ironjawz). And Maneaters as a concept (wandering bands of mercenaries and explorers) have endless potential, allowing for Ogors that reflect the cultures of various realms and factions.
Either of these could end up becoming its own thing. Or both. Or neither.
For the purposes of this wishlist, I’ll assume that Maneaters ARE reabsorbed (they're older models) while Firebellies eventually get the Ironjawz treatment (a faction built around one unit). This ends up being pleasingly symmetrical. Gutbusters are the 'modern' Ogors, worshipping the Maw and also dabbling in more trade than is customary for Destruction races. Then you have two ‘wilder’ off-shoots: ice-themed nomadic beast-tamers and primal fire-worshipper tribes.
In separating the BCR and Firebelly elements, several unique aspects of the Gutbusters come into starker focus:
- Janky tech. Gutbusters are among the more technologically inclined factions in Destruction. They aren’t artisans like Duardin or mad scientists like the Skaven, but have a cavalier approach to salvaging other cultures’ tech and bashing it together to create something new.
- Friendly foodies. Going hand-in-hand with that, Gutbusters are the most diplomatic race in Destruction. Where Urruks have a constant urge to fight, Ogors have a wander-lust to go with an insatiable hunger, and so many happily work with whoever provides coin and food.
- The Maw! They remain the most directly tied to the ‘Great Maw’ (probably just a façade of Gorkamorka, like the Bad Moon) means that food should be an oft-repeated beat.
- Gnoblar, Gnibblar, Ogor, Spy. A species of Grotz even more pathetic than Moonclan cave dwellers, Gnoblars form the proletariat of Gutbuster society. This aspect was best captured in the 6th edition Ogre Kingdoms book, with the 8th Edition book and kits shifting the focus to the faction’s beasts, but I feel the Ogors’ fondness for their indentured servants is fertile ground for fun stories (especially since Urruks and Grotz no longer have the same interplay as they did pre-AoS).
All that considered, I think there's potential for a strongly themed, medium-sized faction. Let's start with making a few changes to the existing kits.
Appropriating existing kits:
- Bragg the Gutsman becomes a generic Gutsman hero type. Drawing from some of the old Bragg lore, these executioners are feared and shunned enforcers in Gutbuster society, usually hired temporarily by tribes to enforce certain justice before being cast out. Any Ogor who has perfected the art of disembowelling is, after all, not to be trusted. The change I’d make to this base is that Gutsmen are sadistic Great Maw zealots, acting as enforcers to Butchers. That way, between Butchers, Gutsmen and Larder-wagons, you've got a strong contingent of the 'religious class' represented in the army.
- Maneaters. Oh, Maneaters. My favourite unit from WFB, they’re a little out of place now (and pretty expensive, too). The name has to go for a start – Golgfag is dead, so we need an appropriately colourful name for this class of mercenary. I’ll get to the new kit which replaces the role of Maneaters in a sec, but for now, let’s call them Realmtrotter Mercenaries. The existing Maneater models have delightful character, so they could represent a hero-level Realmtrotter Veteran (with highly varied loadout options).
Gnoblars are where they have an opportunity to pull a FEC and make new warscrolls from existing 'bits'.
- Supply Gnoblars, or Graft Gnobz. This is a five-model unit of Gnoblar aides, the miniatures coming from the Gnoblars included in the Ogor and Leadbelcher sprues. Similarly to the Moonclan’s Sneaky Snufflers, these would have buffing utility. Graft Gnobz could buff on a nearby unit: +1 attack for Ogors/Ironguts (weapon carriers), +1 to hit for Leadbelchers (torch lighters) or heal D3 wounds for any Ogor unit (food bearers). You already get 6 free with each box of 6 Ogors.
- Crotchbashers. These are bravest, hardest Gnoblars around (which isn’t saying much). They get their egos inflated from being favoured by an Irongut owner, so become the de facto Gnoblar bosses. In terms of rules, they’re the equivalent of a Grot Boss: super-cheap heroes with modest CC stats and a command ability. You get two of these for every box of four Ironguts.
All that considered, I think we need to say goodbye to the humble Gorger. With Skrag’s character gone, these troglodytic outcasts are an aesthetic anomaly and an ugly one at that. What is the whole 'gut-less exile' angle providing, exactly? That's probably the only thing I'd 'squat'.
- Tyrant on Bull Rhinox. This is the kit shared across the BCR/Gutbuster factions, with the Tyrant option being an armoured 250pt combat monster. Since Gutbusters get updated first, let's count it as their release.
- Realmtrotters (unit of 3). This is the unit to replace the Maneaters, and is an opportunity for GW to really knock it out of the park when it comes to customization (think Rockguts but more, MOAR!). To have some visual cohesion, I’d want them to generally embody Order factions (Free Peoples, Fyreslayers, Kharadron Overlords, perhaps some Aelven regalia there too). After all, most of the resin Maneaters look like they've served in Free People cultures. They'll have customizable warscrolls and flashy rules, perhaps the unit champion can take an artefact, representing their exotic collections.
- Tinker-thugs (hero). The closest thing to a ‘master engineer’ an Ogor can get, these visionaries are responsible for building Gutbuster war machines along with their dextrous Gnoblar minions. Thugs are sometimes called ‘Ear-Nibblers’ by those suspicious of their Gnoblar affinity: Ogors mark Gnoblars as their own by biting their ears, so some suspect Tinker-Thugs give not a proper chomp but a dainty nibble. Tunker-thugs chaps are support pieces for the Leadbelchers, Maneaters and Artillery shooting.
- Bone-gruel Canteen (hero/Behemoth). Taking Scragg the Slaughterer’s concept and raising the volume, this is a Rhinox-pulled larder wagon dor a Butcher's cauldron. Think the DoK Cauldron of Blood, but with a hungry fat boi instead. This would obviously be a buff-wagon, possibly with a Black Coach style ramp-up of power (nearby models die, go into the cauldron and the buff aura intensifies). This unit would provide a chance for named Butcher character alternative build (the option to deploy the spare hero as infantry effectively updating the old resin Butcher).
Lastly, we have the Terrain + Endless spell slots. The Maw offers more creative millage than the ice theme for spells. The Great Maw is the obligatory centrepiece and along with that, I envision a Belch-fume Smog (a pendulum style projectile) and perhaps an apparition of foooood as the 'buff-piece'.
In terms of faction terrain, it's actually kind of hard to decide which thematic beats to hit. I could see a ramshackle larder, a holy icon of The Great Maw or a Gnoblar salvage scrapheap. There's a lot of ways to go with this one. None of them strike me as inextricably crucial to the faction identity as the BCR Everwinter stuff, perhaps you've got better ideas?
Anyway, that's a summary of the new stuff I'd bring in. I think new Gutbuster models should reinforce an aesthetic of cobbled together exoticism along with their belief in the Great Maw. The army should have the 'look' of masses of monstrous infantry, accompanied by varieties of wagons and diminutive Gnoblar servants. That way, I think AoS could eventually support three very distinct identities of Ogors: tragically cursed nomads riding giants beasts; scrap-tech, Gnoblar-powered mercenary chiefdoms dedicated to The Great Maw, and primally tribal, bonkers volcano worshippers.
Here’s a TL;DR summary of the entire faction:
- Named Butcher on Bone-gruel Canteen (new dual kit)
- Butcher on Bone-gruel Canteen " "
- Tyrant (Old Golgfag model. That dude is just TOO cool)
- Tyrant on Bull Rhinox (new model)
- Wandergut Veterans (Old Maneater models become heroes)
- Tinker-thug (new model)
- Crotchbasher (from Irongut kit)
- Realmtrotter Mercs (new Maneater-style models)
- Graft Gnobz (from Ogor kit)
- Rhinox Riders (Forgeworld only)
Release size: fair
- Updated Battletome
- Maw-themed Endless Spells
- 4 new model kits
I do hope that they maintain the split between BCR and Gutbuster (and in the far future add a faction of Firebellies), but I guess if they do them in one, I'll only have to paint one army. Since they'll no doubt be allies to one another, I don't see anything lost by keeping the divide. Indeed, I'm excited about the prospect of several distinct 'flavours' of Ogor, like we have with the Aelves or Duardin.
7 new kits between two factions (not counting the terrain/spell stuff): that's a conservative take, IMO. I hope that I've grossly underestimated it
For you Ogor fans out there: do you agree, disagree? Heard any rumours of your own (I know there was a discredited one, but a GB release this year would make perfect sense: it's destruction's turn to shine, and both Grotz and Urruks have gotten brand-new models)?
It'll be pretty funny if they do none of this and announce Battletome: Gorgers.